Selling Perfume - What Do I Need to Know?

whateve

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May 10, 2010
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I have some vintage perfume that was my mother's. It is unopened and rare. I believe it is worth a lot more than the stuff I usually sell. So I'm worried.

Is there a chance it could evaporate if I sell it to an overseas buyer? Is it safer to make it US only?

Even though it will be below the $750 threshold, is there any reason I should use signature required? Is priority mail fine?

I can't decide what to do about returns. I'm thinking that I should allow returns as long as it isn't opened.

Since it is sealed in a box, I don't know if some of it has already evaporated or if the quality has degraded. I want to sell it as is - no guarantees. Will ebay allow a chargeback if the buyer doesn't like it? What proof could they look at since they can't smell it through online communications?

Is there anything else I should consider?
 
Sep 11, 2006
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I have some vintage perfume that was my mother's. It is unopened and rare. I believe it is worth a lot more than the stuff I usually sell. So I'm worried.

Is there a chance it could evaporate if I sell it to an overseas buyer? Is it safer to make it US only?

Even though it will be below the $750 threshold, is there any reason I should use signature required? Is priority mail fine?

I can't decide what to do about returns. I'm thinking that I should allow returns as long as it isn't opened.

Since it is sealed in a box, I don't know if some of it has already evaporated or if the quality has degraded. I want to sell it as is - no guarantees. Will ebay allow a chargeback if the buyer doesn't like it? What proof could they look at since they can't smell it through online communications?

Is there anything else I should consider?

As a buyer, if I were looking for perfume then I would expect it to be in saleable and useable condition. The only way, as a buyer, to confirm that is to open it on receipt. So what happens if one of your buyers finds the perfume has degraded/gone off?


I'm saying that as devil's advocate - I don't know how long a lifespan perfume is expected to have.


I have purchased scents from the US before and never had any evaporation issues but I believe there are far more strict regulations regarding postage these days so if you want to sell internationally, then some research would be worthwhile.
 
Apr 15, 2007
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If this is a "vintage & rare fragrance",that is in a collectible bottle that is no longer
in production,you may have a buyer that is purchasing it for show or to add to
a collection, rather than perhaps using it.
Your buyer may very well know that the bottle may not be full or the
scent may have changed over time..

I would insure & use sc only because should the bottle get damaged in transit,
you will have a little more protection, IYKWIM..

Keep us posted
 
Last edited:

applecidered

Member
Jan 19, 2014
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Texas
I sold a bottle of perfume that was still in a sealed box through Amazon. I know USPS does not allow shipment of perfumes, or at least you need to specify that you are shipping perfume. I actually did not reveal that to USPS, but YMMV.
 

whateve

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May 10, 2010
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There are very strict regulations regarding shipping of perfume, you might want to google shipping perfume.

Here is an an example of a thread from the ebay boards (it's old but still relevant I think)

http://community.ebay.com/t5/Health-Beauty/Shipping-Perfume/td-p/2120765

Hope it helps a bit :smile:
Thanks so much! I had no idea. So it looks like I can ship it parcel select and only in the US.

By the way, the package is so old that it doesn't state that it contains alcohol. Does perfume from the 50s or earlier contain alcohol or something else flammable? It is extrait, not eau de toilette.
 

whateve

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May 10, 2010
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As a buyer, if I were looking for perfume then I would expect it to be in saleable and useable condition. The only way, as a buyer, to confirm that is to open it on receipt. So what happens if one of your buyers finds the perfume has degraded/gone off?


I'm saying that as devil's advocate - I don't know how long a lifespan perfume is expected to have.


I have purchased scents from the US before and never had any evaporation issues but I believe there are far more strict regulations regarding postage these days so if you want to sell internationally, then some research would be worthwhile.
Once the box is opened, the value of having an unopened box is gone. Once the bottle is opened, the value of having an unopened bottle is gone. Since it is probably more than 50 years old, the chances that it has degraded are great.

Can't I stress that I'm selling it as a rare, unopened collectible, rather than as a usable perfume? Would I be better off selling it in the collectible category rather than the scent category?
 
Sep 11, 2006
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Once the box is opened, the value of having an unopened box is gone. Once the bottle is opened, the value of having an unopened bottle is gone. Since it is probably more than 50 years old, the chances that it has degraded are great.

Can't I stress that I'm selling it as a rare, unopened collectible, rather than as a usable perfume? Would I be better off selling it in the collectible category rather than the scent category?


I think you'd have to stress quite clearly that it wasn't for use, but be prepared for someone who then tried to use it and complains.


I'm not being rude but do people really collect really old perfume and just display the boxes? Just not something I have come across.
 

whateve

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May 10, 2010
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I think you'd have to stress quite clearly that it wasn't for use, but be prepared for someone who then tried to use it and complains.


I'm not being rude but do people really collect really old perfume and just display the boxes? Just not something I have come across.
I don't think you are being rude. I didn't open it myself to use it because it seemed too rare. I know there are some people who believe that the older perfume has a better scent, and it might be because they didn't use artificial ingredients back then. So, I was thinking that the buyer might get a great scent but it isn't my fault if it has degraded. But I guess ebay would side with the buyer. I was just wondering if there was some way I could NOT guarantee the quality and get away with it.
 
Sep 11, 2006
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I don't think you are being rude. I didn't open it myself to use it because it seemed too rare. I know there are some people who believe that the older perfume has a better scent, and it might be because they didn't use artificial ingredients back then. So, I was thinking that the buyer might get a great scent but it isn't my fault if it has degraded. But I guess ebay would side with the buyer. I was just wondering if there was some way I could NOT guarantee the quality and get away with it.


I honestly don't know. All I will say is I once sold an item with a scratch. The scratch was photographed, the scratch was measured, it was photographed with a ruler next to it to demonstrate the length of it and it was written twice in the description. On receipt, the buyer complained it was scratched and was permitted to return the item for refund!
 

puckettk

Member
Apr 11, 2009
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I think you'd have to stress quite clearly that it wasn't for use, but be prepared for someone who then tried to use it and complains.


I'm not being rude but do people really collect really old perfume and just display the boxes? Just not something I have come across.
I don't think you are being rude. I didn't open it myself to use it because it seemed too rare. I know there are some people who believe that the older perfume has a better scent, and it might be because they didn't use artificial ingredients back then. So, I was thinking that the buyer might get a great scent but it isn't my fault if it has degraded. But I guess ebay would side with the buyer. I was just wondering if there was some way I could NOT guarantee the quality and get away with it.
I read an article some time ago about people collecting vintage perfumes because some of the ingredients have were used in older perfumes (pre-1990's?) have been banned (but I could be pulling this information out of my rear end) and the new version of these scents do not smell the same. I do remember the article stating that bottles of Chanel No. 5 from the 1950's were fetching over 1! That being said I would think anyone who collects these perfumes are aware of the risk of these scents degrading and assume these risks seeing that the box and bottle are both sealed. Maybe to drive the message home you could mention that it is a fully sealed collector's item? Also, I would probably not offer international shipping especially because USPS does not allow shipping of perfumes overseas and it might get confiscated at customs. I had this happen once when I purchased nail polish (also a restricted item) from the UK. The seller was very kind and sent me a replacement but she was out the money for the first bottle and shipping. Just my long and ramble-y 2 cents!
 

whateve

Authenticator
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May 10, 2010
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I read an article some time ago about people collecting vintage perfumes because some of the ingredients have were used in older perfumes (pre-1990's?) have been banned (but I could be pulling this information out of my rear end) and the new version of these scents do not smell the same. I do remember the article stating that bottles of Chanel No. 5 from the 1950's were fetching over 1! That being said I would think anyone who collects these perfumes are aware of the risk of these scents degrading and assume these risks seeing that the box and bottle are both sealed. Maybe to drive the message home you could mention that it is a fully sealed collector's item? Also, I would probably not offer international shipping especially because USPS does not allow shipping of perfumes overseas and it might get confiscated at customs. I had this happen once when I purchased nail polish (also a restricted item) from the UK. The seller was very kind and sent me a replacement but she was out the money for the first bottle and shipping. Just my long and ramble-y 2 cents!
OMG $1000! That's what I have - a bottle of Chanel No. 5. I don't know how old it is but it originally sold for $6. I was thinking more like $300.

I read the same thing. They now use artificial civet, and maybe some other artificial ingredients.
 

Luvbolide

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Jun 8, 2007
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I have a friend who collects old perfume bottles - like most collectables, if they are in sealed bottles with the label intact, they are worth more. Back in the day some of those bottles were made from Lalique crystal. I don't know anything about old perfume, as my friend only collects the bottles - LOL! If I were in your position, I'd poke around and check out some perfume collector boards, they may have some suggestions.

I would be inclined to list the bottles under collectables and would stress, as you have mentioned, that the boxes are sealed as are the contents so that you cannot make any warranties or representations as to whether or not the contents of the bottles are still useable as perfume. Hopefully your buyers will be collectors and will know.

I am not a perfume pro, but I'm surprised to hear that anything as old as 50 years old might still be good. Interesting.

Good luck with your auctions.
 
Apr 15, 2007
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I have a friend who collects old perfume bottles - like most collectables, if they are in sealed bottles with the label intact, they are worth more. Back in the day some of those bottles were made from Lalique crystal. I don't know anything about old perfume, as my friend only collects the bottles - LOL! If I were in your position, I'd poke around and check out some perfume collector boards, they may have some suggestions.

I would be inclined to list the bottles under collectables and would stress, as you have mentioned, that the boxes are sealed as are the contents so that you cannot make any warranties or representations as to whether or not the contents of the bottles are still useable as perfume. Hopefully your buyers will be collectors and will know.

I am not a perfume pro, but I'm surprised to hear that anything as old as 50 years old might still be good. Interesting.

Good luck with your auctions.

Agree here & perhaps do some research to find out how these rare bottles
are listed & you can go from there..
 
Apr 19, 2009
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